Spotify may overtake Apple Podcasts by end of 2021, report claims

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A market forecast claims that Spotify will overtake Apple in podcast listenership by the end of 2021, but it appears to have missed where recent growth stems from or why it may or may not continue.

Spotify to overtake Apple Podcasts by end of 2021
Spotify to overtake Apple Podcasts by end of 2021


Spotify has invested heavily in premium and exclusive podcasts in order to quickly capture the market. Between the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the acquisition of Joe Rogan's podcast, Spotify had nowhere to go but up.

A report from eMarketer claims that by the end of 2021 Spotify will have 28.2 million people listening to podcasts versus Apple with 28 million. The forecast states that Spotify has seen an intense amount of growth over the past year, with it eating into Apple's previously dominant platform.

"By putting podcasts and music in one place, Spotify quickly became the convenient one-stop-shop for everything digital audio," said Insider Intelligence's eMarketing forecasting analyst Peter Vahle. "Apple was the de facto destination for podcasts for a long time, but in recent years, it has not kept up with Spotify's pace of investment and innovation in podcast content and technology. Spotify's investments have empowered podcast creators and advertisers through its proprietary hosting, creation, and monetization tools."

The report, however, doesn't seem to account for the reasons behind Spotify's fast podcast listener growth. The platform has the draw of keeping music and podcasts within the same app, but that isn't the whole story.

Since the beginning of 2020, when Spotify saw its podcast listenership grow in earnest, a pandemic has pushed more people indoors and to more forms of entertainment.

Not only are more people than ever listening to podcasts, which the report acknowledges via a 10% YoY growth in audience, Spotify bought out the top show. The Joe Rogan Experience is the number one podcast in the world with millions of active monthly listeners. The exclusivity of that show and the aided growth of pandemic listeners caused the majority of growth for Spotify over the past year.

The report appears to assume that Spotify can continue to grow its podcast listenership on the service by the same rate, lacking clear evidentiary support. The company is investing in new podcast initiatives, but no one knows the impact they may bring going forward. That and the end of the pandemic is in sight, so Spotify must cling to its growth as people return to some level of normalcy.

Apple Podcasts benefited from being one of the only serious players in the market for over a decade. Despite being only tangentially related to podcasts, Apple became the dominant hosting and listening platform across the world. Any market entity taking a more involved approach was going to disrupt Apple's market share.

The report wasn't able to reflect how much Spotify can grow with an ending pandemic and unknowable content future. Apple is taking a more firm stance in podcasting by releasing its own shows about Apple TV+ properties like "For All Mankind."

It is too soon to declare a winner of the podcast market, and Spotify still needs to turn a profit before its accelerated growth can be seen as a boon for the company.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,865member
    Apple doesn’t make money on podcasts, right? so market share is trivial. I still use to listen to podcasts. 
  • Reply 2 of 5
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 381member
    HomeKit insider is my weekly listen. 
  • Reply 3 of 5
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,525member
    I’ve been warning about this for years. Apple has been sleeping on their own creation (Podcast comes from Apple “pod” branding) and monopoly.

    Come on Apple step up!!

    jungmark said:
    Apple doesn’t make money on podcasts, right? so market share is trivial. I still use to listen to podcasts. 

    It matters a lot and even hurts iPhone. If you can get 90% of Podcasts on a knockoff then that’s one less reason to get an iPhone/HomePod etc.

    This crap is happening to iTunes too. iTunes has the biggest movie/show library in the world and Apple doesn’t give a damn. They’re passively running it now. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overheard people say “I can’t find that movie anywhere!! I’ve checked Netflix, Hulu and HBO!!” And I’m shaking my head knowing it’s on iTunes but yet too embarrassing to even mention it since it’s dying.
    qwerty52
  • Reply 4 of 5
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,314member
    Unfortunately this seems just another thing Apple has lost interest in. Podcasts just don't work on the HomePod half the time, or it comes up with a completely unrelated one when I ask it to play something. It won't even play its default news podcast anymore, when I say "Hey Siri, whats the news", I get "Playing the news from the BBC... Sorry you don't have any unplayed episodes of BBC news." Then asking to switch to LBC results in the same 50% of the time. As a 20 year Apple aficionado, I am so disheartened in Apple's complacency with so many things and their general direction as of late.
    qwerty52
  • Reply 5 of 5
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,719member
    Apple Podcasts benefited from being one of the only serious players in the market for over a decade. Despite being only tangentially related to podcasts, Apple became the dominant hosting and listening platform across the world. Any market entity taking a more involved approach was going to disrupt Apple's market share.

    Apple AND podcasting benefited greatly from how Apple has handled things so far. FYI, Adam Curry met with Jobs and handed over what was the podcast directory at the time to get Apple started (when it appeared in iTunes).

    IMO, most of the journalists and analysts on this stuff are factually wrong (ie. they don't understand podcasting), or they have wildly problematic thoughts about what should be done to be successful (as analysts often do!).

    Spotify did grow a lot... from 0 to around 9% currently. But, that's a LONG, LONG way from overtaking Apple. The problem for them is even bigger, though. To gain more share, people would have to want to use Spotify to listen to podcasts. The experience (I understand) is currently horrible. They are having (from what I hear) problems fulfilling ad-deals in terms of getting enough ears on the content, so they've expanded those deals beyond their platform. They also, haven't made money yet (as noted).

    As to the above quote, Apple doesn't host podcasts. They are a DIRECTORY for podcasts and have the leading podcast player APP. They and Spotify will be getting a lot of competition, I believe, from Adam Curry's new PodcastIndex.org in the coming years as well.

    There are a lot of big players (with funding) jumping into the space trying to grab chunks and change it. Most of that money and effort is just wasted because they never took the time to understand the industry, medium, or ethos within it before they jumped. NO ONE wants podcasting to become like Hollywood or big radio (except these players).
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